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The Antigua and Barbuda government and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) have finalized plans to purchase the three aircraft currently owned by the bank that were once part of the fleet for LIAT (1974) Ltd.
This move comes after LIAT (1974) Ltd. ceased operations due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement of the purchase was made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who highlighted that the agreement was reached after initial disagreements between the two parties.
According to the Prime Minister, negotiations between the government and the CDB have been ongoing for several weeks, with the main point of contention being the sale value of the aircraft.
The market value of the aircraft is 12.5 million dollars, and the government currently has $4.1 million in escrow, which will be remitted once the agreement is signed.
Of the three aircraft, two are currently not air-worthy. Despite initial disagreements, the two parties have come to an agreement, and the purchase is set to be completed in the coming weeks.
Prime Minister Browne also spoke about the government’s plans to launch LIAT 2020, following the collapse of LIAT (1974) Ltd. due to the pandemic.
He revealed that the government had decided against collapsing the airline, unlike the other shareholder government of LIAT (1974) Ltd.
Instead, they have been working tirelessly towards launching LIAT 2020, hoping it will be a profitable and sustainable institution.
“We have gotten back a response to all three prime ministers. One of the prime ministers, Roosevelt Skerrit, [Dominica’s PM] has already signed in concordance…, Mia [Barbados PM] said by Monday she will have concordance sent and Ralph [St Vincent PM] I expect him to do the same”, he said
The Prime Minister further revealed that the government plans to apply for the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) for LIAT 2020 in the next week or two.
Once this is done, he expects the airline to be up and running within the next 60 to 90 days.
The progress made so far has been described by the Prime Minister as a testimony to his government’s relentless pursuit of its objectives that will benefit the people of Antigua and Barbuda.